Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving. Mark 10:21-22
My husband’s father used to preach a message about the rich young ruler’s visit with Jesus. After asking Jesus what he had to do to gain eternal life, Jesus told him to take all his possessions and give them away to the poor. He went away from Jesus feeling sad because the price seemed too steep. The point of my father in law’s sermon was this: Everyone leaves Jesus sad, mad, or glad. I used to think it a bit simplistic but now, many years later, simple is right. Are there more reactions to Jesus than this? Perhaps not.
Sad ~ You’re attracted to Jesus. You see the light. You know you’re in the presence of holiness. You know your life will never be the same but after weighing everything involved in following Him, it’s just too costly. The sadness is so great that you walk away and suspect you missed something beautiful.
Mad ~ Your pride is offended. How dare Jesus say that you’ll never be good enough. How dare He call you a sinner. How dare He require that everything you love and everything you want come second to Him. The offense is so great that you walk away and believe you missed nothing.
Glad ~ You find a treasure. You recognize, in Jesus, what you’ve always longed for. Real love. Lasting forgiveness. A second chance. Eternal beauty. A cause bigger than yourself. Though you lay your life down, it is nothing in comparison to what you gain. The joy is so great that you walk away celebrating.
Is there someone in your life who is fighting Jesus? There are a few people close by to me who are. One is mad ~ offended at the thought that God forgives too recklessly. He wants others to pay for what they’ve done to him. Another is sad ~ offended because there would be loss of control. Trust in anyone, including God, seems wrong. And the last person is also sad as she believes that she’s too much of a loser for God to love her.
As I re-read the scripture for today, I notice that before Jesus told the young man to give everything away, it said that Jesus felt love for him. I can often believe that what Jesus asks me to give up is driven by something other than love. It’s not. He knows that my joy will be full when I love Him most of all.
For every one of us today who are seeing ‘mad’ loved ones, or ‘sad’ loved ones, help us model the joy of having found you as the pearl of great price. Amen